Which brings me to my impression of Five Guys. When you take a native Angeleno and transplant that SoCal denizen to the East Coast, it’s all about settling. There’s Baja Fresh and California Tortilla (misnomer) in lieu of real Mexican food, there’s a random gyro sandwich offered on a pizza menu in lieu of the fabulous Firehouse Greek restaurant in Tarzana. Instead of classic mom-and-pop joints like Pink’s or Johnnie’s Pastrami (which I also got to hit before leaving town), the D.C. metro area is dotted with your standard assemblage of Applebee’s and Cheesecake Factory.

And, of course, Five Guys, which is accorded the same saintly status out here as In-N-Out enjoys out West. Five Guys is good. Not much flavor to the burger, but juicy as Bryan says. A fair number of topping offerings, but maybe cheese choices or red onions would add a bit more flavor to the burger. There are free peanuts along with a warning sign asking you not to take them out of the restaurant. They also offer hot dogs with any toppings you choose. I find them especially handy during Lent as they make an interesting grilled cheese with your choice of toppings, like jalapeno and grilled onions, or a veggie sandwich (as does In-N-Out — and they have special sauce!). Bryan makes a great point on the extra portability of In-N-Out — if you’re road-tripping it, getting a burger with sauce and grilled onions won’t drip and also lets you savor the burger and bun flavors a bit more than if you’ve got topping overload.

Maybe I’m just being a homer. But it would be nice to get the same fiesta for one’s taste buds out here that you can get on the West Coast.

See Round 3 of Burger Battle: A Big Dog Goes Wild for Animal-Style at In-N-Out